The Glass Vaults
Tucked away in NZ is a thriving indie scene; held together by two solid labels and a host of bands and dedicated followers. Glass Vaults are one such band. With their synth driven movements they have been described as ‘painting New Zealand’ or even as a homage to Lord Of The Rings. Seems just like a reference to their nationality, but i sure see what they mean. I was privileged enough to speak to Richard and Rowan about music and their budding careers. Here’s what they had to say:
Firstly, hows the weather in NZ? it’s raining here…
Richard: Its pretty un predictable most of the time… Wellington winters are pretty shit, windy!
Seeing as i’m stuck here in ole Blighty (as well as a lot of the readership) what’s the music scene like in Wellington?
Richard: There is some amazing artists and there is some average ones too 🙂 Personally I think it’s quite good, theres some cool acts on local labels A Low Hum and Sonorous Circle. Theres a good supportive community of artists around.
Rowan: It’s quite a small city so I think it’s got quite a good output in terms of music for it’s size. Theres alot of good recluse artists I guess you could say, producing stuff at home and releasing it, often through A Low Hum.
You guys have such a brilliant sound, can i just ask what everyone plays?
Rowan: It’s Rich’s voice you can hear cleanly through out the record and he also plays all of the guitars and synth. I produce the effected vocal loops and textures as well digital drums and synths. We both play live drums.
Rich: Yeah live its a bit of a mix, with just the two of us… but we manage.
The production of your record is very cohesive, can you give us a little backstory or blurb to how you guys came together as a band?
Richard: Well we studied together and just finished that last year. We both had an interest in music and sound production although at times from different ends of the spectrum. My history I guess has been more involved in writing songs with more folk sensibilities, interested in lyrical content, hooks and good quality song writing with emotional resonance. My preference has always been in quality emotional response rather then high production value.
Rowan: I always enjoyed seeing rich play while we we’re studying together. I was doing work developing sound scores for a few local films and theatre/dance pieces and always wanted to develop my skill into a more music/performance area so we started developing stuff together on and off over those few years in our breaks from study. It wasn’t until the start of this year having graduated that we had time to knuckle down and record some stuff, it was really enjoyable. I’d done some work wth Bevan Smith on a theatre project the year before so he was keen to work with us on producing the recordings which was awesome, he’s heaps of fun to work with and is a really talented guy. He really help to bring the EP together in a way that we were really happy with.
Richard: Yeah Bevans the man!
I have heard a lot of people compare you to Yeasayer and Sigur Ros (definitely a compliment in my book) where would you guys say your influences lie?
Richard: aha yeah I would say we are influenced by those bands. Sigur Ros definatley, especially in the beautiful and seamless way that they can sound both so intimate and epic but also Thom Yorke… I went through a long romance with Bright eyes and arcade fire a few years back which I still believe are influencing me in ways. Ummm… Cat Stevens, Fleet Foxes and Pj Harvey, her album white chalk definitely. Local acts Seth Frightening, and the Ruby Suns also. Fever Ray defintly I think the winter of 2009 will always be reminiscent of that sound. Lots of things influence tho… David Attenborough’s Planet earth 🙂
Rowan: Haha. Yea both of us have a love for The Knife and Fever Ray was an obvious follow on from that when se released her record. Bands like Sigur Ros and The Knife that are also really interested in other media. A bit of French electro too, Daft Punk, Justice, M83 if he fits in that bag haha. Theres a certain intensity to some of their sound and performances that I really enjoy.
Glass was such a tour de force of an EP, what was your thinking behind making it a free release, i for one would have paid…
Rowan: We’re just nice guys. I don’t think we would have been able to get as many people to hear it if we had made people pay for it.
Richard: Yea I agree with Rowan… Its a good question though, who knows were the music industry is going… if there even is still an industry 🙂 I suppose from giving it away its like a tester…
There is no doubting your passion for music and all the best in the future, is there an LP to look forward to or some tours perhaps (Come to England!)?
Richard: Yes we hope to have another release by the end of the year. Not entirely sure what length it will be yet although I’d imagine it will be longer. A full length record would be nice, especially to develop the sound and to push it in other ways, I think we are just going to start though and see where we end up though.
Rowan: Yea aye, we’ve got songs that we have played live that we’ll continue to develop and record. We’d love to get abroad at some stage to do some touring. I guess we’ve just gotta get our shit together haha.
Sorry, a bit of a change of pace but where did the artwork for the EP come from? It’s incredible!
Rowan: We took that photo while we were recording most of the EP. We took a week out at my Grandmothers farm to set up and record and down the road from there is a family friends house where we used to swim as kids. Its a really cute little pool area so I had a camera and took some pictures. I’d never used a pinhole camera before so only one photo developed properly and that was it.
Well thankyou very much, I feel very privileged to have spoken to you. I honestly adore your EP. Genuine chills when i hear Set Sail. Please keep it up and look forward to hearing more from you.
Rowan: No worries, we look forward to getting abroad to play some shows at some stage.
Gracious and talented, two attributes that compliment each other almost as well as the melodious and mysterious musings of this duo. Feel free to download their EP from their Band Camp HERE
In case you wanna have a little look yourself first then feel free to wrap your ears around this beauty. Just right click and save.
Oh and the lead singer Richard Larsen also performed a live set at Adam Art Gallery which can be downloaded HERE
So long Glass Vaults, all the best. See you in Brighton soon please?